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History of Providence County, Vol I & II
Ed. by Richard M. Bayles; W.W. Preston & Co., NY. 1891
pp. 31 - 35.
Establishment of Courts. - Successive Court Houses. - Practitioners in the early Courts. - Early Bar Compact. - Prominent Lawyers of a Half Century Ago. - Their Location and Habits. - Some Woonsocket Lawyers. - Prominent Men of the last Generation. - Lawyers of the Present Time.
The first establishment of any organized court was under the charter of 1644. This was called the general court of trials. It had jurisdiction over the whole colony, as the counties had not then been organized. This court was composed of the president and assistants. They had jurisdiction over all aggravated offenses, and in such matters as should be by the town courts referred to them as too weighty for themselves to determine, and also of all disputes between different towns, or between citizens of different towns and strangers. They had two sessions in each year. All questions of fact were determined by a jury of twelve men. The town courts had exclusive original jurisdiction over all causes between their own citizens. The president was the conservator of the peace throughout the colony, and the assistants were charged with the same duties in their respective towns.
Under the revised charter of 1663 the courts were appointed to be held annually, one at Providence in September, and one at Warwick in March. In these courts of trials at least three assistants and a jury of twelve men, selected equally from each town, should be present. An appeal could be taken from these to the general courts. Special courts might also be called at the request and expense of any person, with the sanction of the governor or deputy governor. In the apportionment of grand and petty jurors, Newport was to furnish five of each, Portsmouth three, and Providence and Warwick two each. In the apportionment of state magistrates, that is the governor, deputy governor and ten assistants, five were to be inhabitants of Newport, three of Providence, and two each of Portsmouth and Warwick.
In 1703 the colony appears to have been divided into two counties. These were Providence Plantations and Rhode Island. The first embraced all the towns on the mainland and the second the island towns. Inferior courts were established at the same time, to be holden in each county. That within the county of Providence Plantations was held twice each year, at Providence, Warwick, Kingstown and Westerly by turns. In 1729 the county of Providence was divided and what is now Washington county set off; and again, in 1750, it was still further reduced in size by the formation of the present county of Kent.
In 1729 a court house was ordered to be erected in each of the counties. The court house for this county was built on land formerly belonging to William Page, on Meeting street. In was completed in 1731, at the cost of L665. It was destroyed by fire, on the evening of December 24th, 1758. A new court house was soon afterward begun, and was completed about 1762. This still stands, having been used as court house and state house, in which latter use it is still employed. The present elegant court house was completed in 1877, being dedicated on the 18th of December of that year.
Of the lives of those who were prominent in the history of the early courts we know but little. Diligent enquiry and research has indeed failed to bring to light but few facts. Whatever was brilliant or splended in the scenes in which they took part passed off with the occasion that produced it. If they were eminent in their profession, others have since existed, who to observers were probably as eminent, if not more so. Speeches were not then reported, and but few are now preserved. Natural geniuses doubtless existed then, as well as now, but like brilliant meteors, they dazzled, delighted their audiences for a time, and then faded away. Perhaps more native talent went into the profession at an early period than now, in proportion to numbers, for native strength and intellect were then more necessary to sustain the advocate. He was not assisted by other sciences, nor could he be supported or helped along by reports and authorities, as lawyers are at the present time. Their labor of thinking, and of mental origination, was not diminished by the rich productions emanating from learned brethren, emulous of fame, as is the case with members of the profession at the present time. The most eminent and successful then relied more upon intense mental application than upon books and precedents. They habituated themselves to the most rigid study, and thought intensely upon the cases before them. Those who were gifted with strong native intellects, and with nerve and constitution enouph to bear up under such labor, succeeded, while those who were deficient in these sturdy attributes flagged in their course. The mode of arguing causes then partook much more of the narrative character than at the present day. The advocate before the jury gave minutely the history of the case, and the character of the parties, and freely used familiar anecdote and popular illustration. Appeals to the passions of jurors were the most powerful engines of success. When satire or anger was kindled against an adversary it was a consuming fire. If a client had been unfortunate of oppressed, the chord of sympathy was touched to tears. The principal business of the court was to see fair play, and the judge, who sat to listen rather than to direct, was fortunate if by his silence he escaped unwounded in the conflict of the legal gradiators. But at the same time the lawyers of that day, except when circumstances called out such sturdy efforts, were highly dignified and courteous in their maners at the bar. In later years the pungent severity of the ancient practice has undergone a commendable relaxation.
One of the earliest evidences of the association of lawyers at the bar of this state exists in the Bar Compact of 1745, which we copy below:
'We the subscribers, considering that the law has made no distinction in fees between common, uncontroverted cases and those that are difficult in managing; do for that end, and for regulating our practice in the law, and rendering the same sufficient for our support and subsistence, agree to the following rules, to be strictly kept up by us, upon honor.
'I. No cause at any inferior court, where an acswer is filed, shall be undertaken under forty shillings for a fee, or more.
'II. No answer shall be filed under a forty shilling fee, besides the payment of the charge of copies, &c.
'III. No case to be pleaded at any Superior Court under a three pound fee.
'IV. No writ of review to be brought under a four pound fee; and the same if for the defendant.
'V. In the foregoing cases no man to be trusted without his note, saving a standing client, for whom considerable business is done.
'VI. No Attorney to sign blank writs and disperse then about the colony, which practice, it is conceived, would make the law cheap, and hurt the business without profiting any one whatever.
'VII. No Attorney shall take up any suit whatever against a practitioner who sues for his fees, except three or more brethren shall determine the demand unreasonable; and then if he will not do justice the whole fraternity shall rise up against him.
'VIII. If any dispute should arise among the brethren about endorsement of writs for securing costs, it shall not be deemed a breach of unity, if one Attorney takes out a writ against another for his costs. And in case any Attorney shall become bail he is to expect no favor.
'IX. No Attorney to advance money to pay entry and jury in cases disputed, except for a standing, responsible client, that happened to be out of the way.
'At September Term, 1745.'
One of the prominent early lawyers of this county was Oliver Arnold. He was the son of Isreal, and the grandson of John Arnold, a descendant of Richard Arnold, who was one of the council of Sir Edmond Andros, in 1685, and a near relative of Benedict Arnold, president of the colony of Rhode Island prior to the appointment of Coddington as the first governor. Oliver Arnold was born in Glocester, in 1726. In boyhood he evinced a strong propensity for study and to gratify this, his father, who was a wealthy landholder and much engaged in public business, placed him under the instruction and direction of Doctor Webb, of Uxbridge, Mass., a Presbyterian clergyman of reputation and talent. Here young Oliver increased those habits of study and application which were so eminently serviceable to him in after life. But little further is known of the time or manner of his preparation. But that he early made his mark at the bar is shown by the following anecdote related by Mr. Levi Lincoln, a practitioner of that time, which has been preserved in his own language. Lincoln said:
'When at the bar a cause of considerable interest was entrusted to me; and on retainer I was informed by my client that I should be opposed only by a young man by the name of Arnold, from Glocester, R.I. Not expecting much display of talent from any one in that region, I was slovenly prepared for arguing the case; nor was my caution increased by the appearance of my antagonist -- a tall, green looking youth, who awkwardly seating himself at the bar, impressed me that I had nothing but a stripling to contend with. I made my speech with very little expectation of being answered; and conducted my argument throughout with less skill and arrangement than usual, and awaited the reply of my youthful opponent. But what was my amazement to see him rise with the most perfect self-possession, and state his defence, and argue his cause with an ability that would have done honor to Temple bar. He went on calmly, leading the reason of the jury and audience captive, and leaving myself in the background as far as I confidently expected to have left him.'
This trial spread the reputation of Mr. Arnold far and wide, and he soon rose to distinction as a faithful and popular lawyer. In 1754 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Brown, of Sandisfield, Mass., and sister of Colonel John Brown, who commanded a regiment under General Benedict Arnold at the siege of Quebec. In 1762 Mr. Arnold moved from Glocester to Providence, and purchased an estate on North Main street, and here he continued in the practice of his profession. In May, 1766, he was elected attorney general of the colony, and continued in that office, by successive re-elections, until his death. In the discharge of his official duties he appears to have been actuated by a firm regard for duty and an undeviating resolution to follow its direction, however unpleasant that course might be to himself, and his civil duties were performed with marked ability. His career was short, though flattering in its promises. He died October 9th, 1770, in the 35th year of his age. A contemporary sums up his character in this sentence: 'His genius was lively and active, his ideas extensive and beautifully arranged, his conceptions were quick, clear, and radiant, his judgement sound.'
pp. 35 - 38.
John Cole was the son of Elisha Cole, of North Kingstown, who was for many years a member of the state senate, and one of the largest landholders in Washington county. John obtained a reputable education in the English branches, and was well instructed in the Latin and Greek under a foreign tutor. He studied law in the office of Daniel Updike, Esq., then attorney general of the colony, married his daughter Mary, and commenced practice in law under the patronage of Mr. Updike, in Providence. Here he soon obtained a good share of business, both in this county and elsewhere on the circuits. In 1763 he was elected an associate justice of the supreme court of the colony; and at the January session of the general assembly in 1764, he was promoted to the chair of chief justice, in the place of John Bannister, who had resigned. At the annual election in the following May, he was re-elected to the same honorable office. In the period of the severe stamp act agitations Mr. Cole resigned the office of chief justice, and was elected a representative from Providence in the general assembly, his decided whig principles bringing him into great popularity. He was also elected to represent the town in that body through the stormy perioed of 1766, and at the May session of 1767 was promoted to the chair of speaker of the house. Upon the establishment in Febrary, 1775, of a vice-admiralty court for the state, Mr. Cole was appointed advocate general in that court, which office he held during the remainder of his life. He was also for many years president of the town council of Providence. He was an advocate of respectable talents, a handsome speaker, a sound lawyer, and sustained a fair and honorable character. He was a corpulent and large framed man, with a gouty temperment. In advanced age he entered a small pox hospital for inoculation, but the conditions proved unfavorable and he died of the disease in October, 1777.
From the 'Reminiscences of the Rhode Island Bar', by Abraham Payne, we glean some points in regard to the profession as represented by the men of a generation now past, which facts are embodied in the succeeding paragraphs.
A half century ago General Thomas F. Carpenter practiced law in an office at the junction of Westminster and Weybosset streets. The furniture of the office, though appropriate to the time, would be considered very meagre in these days. A plain book-case with a few books in it, an old fashioned desk, a limited supply of pigeon holes, a large table covered with green baize cloth, an old-fashioned cylinder stove, a small safe, a few common chairs, a long wooden settee and a coal bin constituted the main features of the outfit. Law students were then expected to sweep the office and make the fires, as part of their duties. This indeed was a valuable preparation for the practical matters of life, and those who could perform these duties well were doubtless better prepared to take hold, with the hand of a master, of the more intricate and technical matters of their profession. General Carpenter was in the habit of daily reading a chapter of the Bible in the Greek language. He also gave it as his advice and opinion that a lawyer should be familiar with the Bible. His manners were dignified and affable. He was of middle height, had a very large head, and uniformly wore a blue coat with brass buttons, black pantaloons, black satin vest, ruffled shirt and black cravat. He was courteous and dignified in his bearing, kind in his disposition, and very apt to advise clients to avoid an appeal to the courts as far as possible, unless thier case was an unusually strong and clear one. His manner and methods of conducting cases in court are said to have very much resembled those of Scarlett, the great English advocate.
The prominent lawyers practicing in this county half a century ago were Samuel Y. Atwell, Thomas F. Carpenter, Samuel Ames, Albert C. Greene, William H. Potter, Samuel Currey, John P. Knowles, George Rivers, Edward H. Hazard, Christopher Robinson, Judge Daniels, Jonah Titus, John H. Weeden, John Whipple, Richard Ward Greene, Charles S. Bradley and Thomas A. Jenckes.
Of George Rivers, who began practice about the time of which we are writing, Payne has the following remarks: 'Outside of his profession he was widely known as a man whose brilliant wit served only to conceal the more solid qualities of his mind. As a lawyer, he had quick perceptions and powers of close reasoning, not surpassed by any of his contemporaries. No man ever tried a case with more skill and ability than George Rivers.'
Fitfy years ago only one lawyer in Providence had ventured to take an office on the third floor of a building, and this was Richard Ward Greene, whose standing was such that his clients would follow him wherever he might go. When General Carpenter added a small consultation room to his office, and covered its floor with an ingrain carpet, the extravagance excited some comment. But when the law firm of Hazard & Jenckes fitted up their office with a Brussels carpet and expensive furniture it was visited for some time as a curiosity. The headquarters of the profession were in the old wooden building at the corner of College and South Main streets. In Whipple's building on College street there were John Whipple, Edward H. Hazard, Thomas A. Jenckes, Henry L. Bowen, Charles Holden, Walter S. Burges, John B. Snow, George F. Mann, Samuel W. Peckham and William J. Pabodie. On the same floor of the adjoining building were the offices of albert C. Greene, William H. Potter, Peter Pratt and Edward D. Pearce. In the little building next above, on the same side of the street, which for many years had been occupied by Thomas Burgess, was John M. Mackie, who soon after left the law and moved to Great Barrington, Mass., where he devoted himself to agriculture and literature. On the corner of South Main street and Market Square were Levi C. Eaton, Peres Simmons, Gamaliel L. Dwight and Levi Salisbury. In the Mallett building, on South Main street, were Richard Ward Greene and James M. Clarke. In the old building which occupied the site of the present Merchants' Bank were Charles F. Tillinghast and Charles S. Bradley. Mr. Atwell, Samuel Ashley and Samuel Currey also had offices in the city, and perhaps others, but their locations are not recalled. Previous to tht time the custom had prevailed for the lawyers of the city to have a supper together at the house of some one of their number, once or twice in the year.
Justice courts had considerable of business in those days, and some of the decisions rendered were curious to review, and show that a not very high standard of judicial soundness was maintained. On one occasion a justice had been indulging in stimulants, perhaps to quicken his perceptions of justice, when a case was brought before him, in which the defendant had an unusually strong defense, but the justice gave his decision for the plaintiff. The defendants's attorney called upon him to give his reasons for such a decision, when after a moment's reflection he said: 'Well, then I will give judgment for the defendant'. Under the 'single justice system' as it was called, a single justice of the peace had a limited jurisdiction to hear and determine civil and criminal causes. The abuses under this system were frequent and annoying. The plaintiff could select his court, and was almost certain of a judgment in his favor.
John Whipple was then leader of the bar in this state. He had gained the position in contest with such men as Nathaniel Searle, Tristam Burges, and Daniel Webster, both in the courts of this state and in the supreme court of the United States. By some he was pronounced the equal of Webster, where they appeared in contest, and Webster himself is reputed to have said that John Whipple and Jeremiah Mason were the two ablest opponents he had ever met at the bar. No description of Mr. Whipple as a lawyer can do him justice. He had faculties not required in the ordinary work of his profession, and these reserve forces were at his command whenever any great occasion required them. He was a student of history, a profound thinker on all social, moral and political questions. He belonged to the school of Hamilton, and had no confidence in that of Jefferson.
In a retrospect of the Providence County bar, and the prominent figures acting in it half a century ago, Hon. Thomas Durfee, chief justice of the supreme court of the state, says: --'The leaders of the bar then made it a point to be in court constantly when the court was in session. Lovers of intellectual and emotional excitement visited it in crowds. The most intelligent citizens were frequent spectators of its proceedings. The result can be easily imagined. Trials were conducted under the ordeal of professional criticism and under the encouragement of popular appreciation. Advocacy aquired the perfection of a fine art. The trial of a great cause gave delight like a drama, and by reason of its reality, had an even more absorbing interest. The fame of the leading lawyers of that day is still a treasured tradition of the bar.'
'There was James Burrill, with his practical and persuasive sagacity, cultivated mind and sterling character; Nathaniel Searle, with his unerring and lightning-like perception of the pivotal points of a case; Tristam Burges, with his brilliant but caustic oratory and audacious antagonisms. ** * * I myself can well remember the stalwart and colossal form of Samuel Y. Atwell, towering like a Titan, as with rich and sonorous voice he poured out the full volume of his spontaneous and powerful eloquence, captivating even when it did not convince. And still better can I remember the manly port and presence of John Whipple and his athletic action, as with distinct and resonant articulation, the words dropping from his mouth like coins from a mint, he developed the serried strength of his arguements and reinforced them with his glowing and impetuous declamation.'
pp. 38 - 42.
'There was Richard W. Greene, the safe counsellor, loving the light of ancient precedent, learned in the common law and greatly versed in equity jurisprudence before any court of the state had as yet any considerable equity jurisdiction; not a moving orator, but a consummate master of analysis, preeminent for his power of perspicuous statement. There was Albert C. Greene, a gentleman in the truest sense, full of genial kindness and urbanity, dear to the bar and dear to the popular heart, an excellent lawyer, a favorite advocate, whose prepossessing fairness and never-failing good sense were more invincible often than the finest oratory. He was unrivaled as an examiner of witnesses. The friendly witness, no matter how embarrassed, was instantly put at ease by his gentle manipulation. But his forte was the cross examination of the hostile or secretive witness. It was the angler playing with his victim. Far from seeking to intimidate, he humored him to the top of his bent, putting him off his guard and getting his good-will by degrees, while he pleasantly unmasked his prevarications or concealments, and kept him all the time complacently unconscious of the operation. There was Thomas F. Carpenter, with his Ulyssean mind and amazing art of winning verdicts in desperate cases. I have often heard him. He was exceedingly plausible and ingenious; a sort of magician of the forum. In his hands the flimsiest supposition or conjecture quickly got to looking like a solid fact. He was an actor as well as an advocate. He managed every case with imposing seriousness, as if he felt its justice and importance too deeply to trifle with it. * * * He was a man of extraordinary powers, as well as of extraordinary idiosyncrasies, and whoever crossed weapons with him in any cause was sure to encounter a formidable antagonist. There was Samuel Ames, not a lawyer merely, but a jurist, cultivating jurisprudence as a science or a philosophy. His capacious mind was not only stored, but impregnated and fertilized with the principles and precepts of the law as with so many living and procreant germs. His juridical fullness and fertility were apparent, not only in his forensic efforts, often too exhaustive for the occasion, but even in his common conversation, which moreover was as vivacious as it was instructive. As chief justice he has left in the Rhode Island Reports many a permanent proof of his powers, but nothing which duly represents the brimming exuberance and facility of his intellect. No Rhode Island lawyer ever exhibitied so full and so supple a mastery of the complex and enormous system of English jurisprudence.
"Among the lawyers just named, the two who are most familiar to us are Richard W. Greene and Samuel Ames. They were neither of them splendid orators, like Whipple or Burges. They were effective speakers; but for us their chief distinction is that they were masters of the modern method, and so can teach us more than their more eloquent contemporaries or predecessors. Another master of that method, known to all of us, was the late Thomas A. Jenckes. He had the intellectual weight and momentum and the large utterance, but not the magical manner and self-enkindling enthusiasm of the orator. The track of his career lies shining along the steeps and among the summits of his profession. It indicates the path of success for our day. What is that path, --the modern method, as I have denominated it? It is not a path for lazy genius, dreaming of unearned renown. It is not a showy method in which sham can serve for substance. It is the method of prudent business, seeking valuable ends through means appropriate to them. It is the method of indefatigable study, of disciplinary practice, of varied and accurate acquirement. It is the method which demands for particular cases the mastership of particular preparation. It is the true method for all earnest aspirants to juridical distinction. Profit may be reaped on the lower levels; but honor and fame grow aloft, where they cannot be reached without climbing for them. Let the brave student gird himself for the ascent. It is difficult, but full of exhilaration."
Returning to the reminiscences of Mr. Payne we learn that Jona Titus was a large man, and his very large head, fringed with auburn hair, and his shrewd and genial face, suggested perpetual sunshine, and a close acquaintance with the man revealed the sunshine of his nature. He had a well balanced mind, estimated men and things at their true value, courted no man's favor, and feared no man's opposition. He went through the world standing on his own feet, undisturbed by the sham and nonsense which prevailed around him. As a lawyer he had sound judgment, sufficient learning, and absolute fidelity to his clients. While in the full vigor of manhood he acquired a fortune ample for his moderate wants. During his active professional life he lived in Scituate; but many years before his death his home was in Providence.
Judge David Daniels had his home and office in Woonsocket. He discharged the duties of a lawyer in full practice, with ability and fidelity, but they never seemed to occupy much of his thought. He was one of those men whose liives seem to run in a srong, deep current, quite undisturbed by their ordinary advocations, however prominent, pressing or useful. When engaged in the trial of a cause, he gave it all necessary attention, but without any fuss or pretense of more zeal than he really felt. His life covered a period which reached from the Dorr times, when he was nominated for the office of attorney general, under the people's constitution, down to the civil war, during which he was interested in some speculations in cotton. He died suddenly at a hotel in Providence. His son, Francis A. Daniels, was a member of the Providence County bar, and early gave proof that he had the ability and the generous qualities of his father. His early death was much lamented by a large circle of friends.
John H. Weeden, a lawyer practicing in Pawtucket, was of the old school, industrious, honest and faithful; always courteous, but holding his opinions on all subjects with a confidence indicating that they had been formed after careful study and reflection. He was at one time a member of the general assembly, where on one occasion he gained considerable reputation as the author of a report from a committee of which he was chairman. For many years before his death he was prevented by ill health from active participation in the duties of professional life, but on the occasion of his death, Judge Potter adjourned the court which was then in session, to allow his associates at the bar an opportunity to attend his funeral.
Samuel Ames was born September 6th, 1806, and died Decmeber 20th, 1865. He was for nine years chief justice of the supreme court of this state, beginning with 1856. Besides his practice here he had for a few years practiced in Boston. Payne, who was several years associated with him and knew him well, said of him: 'A more honorable man I have never known. A more learned lawyer I have neither known nor read about. A judge more anxious to do his whole duty never adorned any bench.'
Laying aside for a moment the notice of individual members of the bar we wish to present the following beautiful passage in regard to the prospects and duties of the bar in general, which concludes the address of Hon. Thomas Durfee at the dedication of the new county court house in 1877:
'This house is designed to endure for ages. To-day it is barren of all forensic associations. It has no history. A century hence, and what a multitude of memories and traditions will cluster about it. What revelations of human character and destiny will have been made within it. Add yet another century, and no many-chaptered chronicle of Eld were more multifariously curious and instructive than these dumb walls, if then they could but report their past. In creating their history, the bar and the bench will necessarily play a principal part. Upon them will depend whether the history shall bring honor or discredit. Let us then, my brothers of the bar and bench, realizing this, elevate ourselves above all mean and all merely mercenary views to a high and just conception of our vocation; and now, while we dedicate this temple of justice, let us also dedicate ourselves, as ministers of justice, to an upright, pure and honorable service within its consecrated precincts.'
The following biographical notice of Hon. Charles S. Bradley, one of the most conspicuous figures which the Rhode Island bench and bar has ever known, was prepared for this work by his contemporary and friend, Mr. Edward H. Hazard, in whose words we give it.
'Many emigrants have come from Massachusetts to Rhode Island since Roger Williams landed on the banks of the Seekonk, 254 years ago, but none have proved themselves better citizens, or deserved higher praise than the subject of this sketch. It was no mercenary motive that brought him to our little state.
'Charles Smith Bradley was born in Newburyport, Mass., July 19th, 1819, and was the son of Charles and Sarah (Smith) Bradley. His father, a native of Andover, became a merchant in Boston, and afterward a manufacturer, residing in Portland, Maine. His mother was a granddaughter of the Reverend Hezekiah Smith, a famous chaplain from Massachusetts in the army of the revolution, and, for more than 40 years one of the most active and efficient members of the Board of Fellows of Brown University. Mr. Bradley enjoyed excellent advantages in his early youth, and was prepared for college at the Boston Latin School, where he won a reputation unusual for a boy of fifteen. He was attracted to Brown University by his reverence for his maternal ancestor. He entered the college in 1834, and graduated in 1838, with the highest honors in the class noted for its unusual number of brilliant and able men. It is such praise enough that at the age of 19 he bore off the valedictory from such contestants as Ezekiel G. Robinson (who afterward became president of the university), Thomas A. Jenckes, afterward the Nestor of the Rhode Island bar, and George Van Ness Lothrop, our minister plenipotentiary to Russia. The following paragraph published by a contemporary, is a vivid picture of the estimation in which he was held by his fellow students.
In the class of 1838 was Mr. Justice Bradley of Rhode Island -- the first scholar, I think, of this year, of whom we did predict great things. There is something pleasant in the loyal way in which lads in college recognize an associate of superior ability and special promise; so we all talked of Bradley. When he was to speak in the chapel after evening prayers, how irreverently eager we were for the devotions to be over, that we might listen to our favorite. He handled all topics, philosophical, political and literary, with such force and ease, that we held the matter hardly second to the manner, though the manner was as nearly perfect as any elocution could be.'
'On his graduation he was appointed tutor and held the place for two
years. He received the degree of A.M. in due course, and in 1866 the university
conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. and also elected him a
member of the Board of Fellows. He continued, as long as he lived,
a loyal and devoted son to his Alma Mater. Quite late in life, as
chairman of the committee of the corporation for the renovation of University
Hall, he raised nearly $50,000 for that purpose. He studied law in
the Harvard Law School, and at Providence, in the office of Charles F.
Tillinghast, whose partner he became, on his admission to the bar in 1841.
He soon rose to the front rank of his profession - a position which he
maintained to the day of
pp. 42 - 47.
'The best proof of the high place which he occupied, as a lawyer in
his adopted state, is the fact that in February, 1866, a repulican legislature
elected him - a pronounced and influential democrat - chief justice of
the supreme court of the state; and that too, as the successor of that
most eminent and distinguished jurist, Samuel Ames. He administered
that office with marked ability for two years, and then resigned on account
of the pressure of his private affairs. On his retirement from the
bench, the Providence Journal, the the leading repulican newspaper of the
stae, paid him the following tribute: - 'He has discharged the duties belonging
to that high position with a success, and, we may add, a judicial distinction
in which the people of the state feel both a satisfaction and pride; and
which they had hoped he would long continue to illustrate in a sphere so
'Soon after his retirement from the judgeship he became one of the lecturers
in the Harvard Law School, in which position he continued for several years.
In 1876 he succeeded the Hon. Emory Washburn as the 'Bussey' Professor
in that institution, and held that position for three years. On his
retirement the board of overseers, through their chairman, Judge Lavell,
said: 'We have suffered a great loss in the resignation of the Hon. Charles
S. Bradley, whose lucid teaching was highly appreciated by the students,
and whose national reputation added to the renown of the school.
We had hoped that some incidental advantage of quiet and freedom from care
might be found to outweigh other considerations, and that the Professorship
'Mr. Bradley's scholarship was of a very high order, and he deserves to be ranked with the men of the best culture in our land. He read much, and reflected much: but it was 'lege multum non multa'. He traveled extensively, not only in the United States, but in foreign countries. One of the most pleasant memories of my life is that of a journey I made with him the year he was admitted to the bar. It was during the extra sesion (sic) of congress, under President Tyler's administration, in 1841. Neither of us had ever been further from home than New York. Our first stopping place was at old Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and you should have seen and heard us there, recalling the scenes attendant upon the adoption of the declaration of independence in 1776. At Washington my intimate acquaintance with our four members of congress made us as much at home as we were in Providence. We saw all the 'giants' - Webster, then secretary of state, Calhoun, and others. Then we took steamer to Acquia Creek - thence by stage coach all through Virginia, stopping at Charlottesville and Monticello. Then crossing the Blue Ridge to Weirs Cave - the Natural Bridge, White Sulphur Springs, through the Shenandoah Valley, across Pennsylvania to Lake Erie, then on to Niagara Falls and so on home. The famous line of Horace --- 'Coelum, non animum, mutant, qui transmare current', could not be applied to him. He always returned from every journey well stored with fresh treasures of knowledge, and often with works of high art, sculpture and paintings, which he enjoyed and appreciated exceedingly, and to which he devoted many leisure hours. His beautiful home, in the environs of Providence, was a treasury of works of great masters, both in literature, and in sculpture and painting, and bore the highest evidence of the scholarly and refined tastes of its owner, and of the mental atmostphere in which he lived.
<facing page: engraved portrait of A. Bradley>
'As an orator, it would be too much to claim for Mr. Bradley a place with the most gifted - such as Mr. Webster and others we might mention - but he has left behind him, in his published discourses, ample evidence that he deserves a very high rank in this department. I will mention his oration before the alumni of Brown University in 1855; his oration on the 250th anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims, at Plymouth; his oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard in 1879; and his oration on 'The Profession of Law as an element of Civil Society', delivered in 1881, at the University of Virginia.
'Perhaps the reader will get a more just appreciation of Mr. Bradley as an orator, if I quote a portion of what the Boston Advertiser said of his oration at Harvard in 1879: 'If there were any need for the justification of the custom of annual addresses before the college societies, such an address as that of Judge Bradley yesterday, gave that justification completely. It is remarkable to have so much good sense - so many important suggestions; nay, so many of the fundamental truths upon which civil society rests, crowded into an hour. The power of the speaker upon his audience, the hold which he compelled, their fascinated attention, were again and again referred to through the afternoon.'
'He was tall, erect, manly, and of commanding presence and figure. He was always dignified, and commanded the respect of others wherever he moved. He was, withal, in truest sense of the word, a Christian gentleman. He was very fond of his friends, and of welcoming them to his hospitable home. One of the most pleasant little meetings of my life was a breakfast given by him to his classmate, the Hon. George Van Ness Lothrop, then on his way to St. Petersburgh as our minister to Russia. But alas! How many of that little party are gone in this brief period - our host, Abraham Payne, James H. Coggeshall and others!
'Mr. Bradley was thrice married: first to Sarah, daughter of Joseph and Mary Manton, of Providence, who bore him three sons, of whom Charles and George L. Bradley are now living. In 1858 he married Charlotte Augusta Saunders, of Charlottesville, Va., by whom he had one son, now deceased. He married in May, 1866, Emma Pendleton Chambers, of Philadelphia, who died in 1875. Mr. Bradley died din the city of New York on the 29th day of April, A.D., 1888, while on a visit there for the benefit of his health.'
John Hull Weeden, of whom mention has already been made, was born at Portsmouth, R.I., February 10th, 1801, and died at Pawtucket, October 27th, 1870. He was educated at Kingston Academy, and at Brown University, where he graduated at valedictorian of his class, in 1827. He studied law in New York with one Mr. Lee, and was admitted to the bar in Rhode Island in 1832. From that time he practiced in Pawtucket, and was one of the foremost lawyers of the town. He was a member of the Rhode Island legislature for many years, either as representative or senator. He was married September 29th, 1832, to Sarah Bowen, daughter of Nathan Sweetland. His surviving children are: Eliza Freeborn; Caroline Soule, wife of J. Ernest Clarner; Ella Hull; Adelaide G., wife of Commodore Jeffres Mawry; Delia Dyer, wife of Reverend Emery H. Porter; and Janes Estes, wife of Fred. Sherman, Esq. Mr. Weeden for many years held the offices of town clerk, judge of probate, and other local offices in Pawtucket.
Daniel B. Pond. -- The Ponds are known to have come to this country from Groton, England, at an early date, as from a letter of Governor Winthrop, it is known that two of that name came over with him in 1630. That they were neighbors and acquaintances of his is shown by his letter to his son prior to sailing for America, and his subsequent message to their father, after arrival here, as to their good health and fidelity to their 'duty'. Other letters and memoranda of the Winthrops show a neighborly acquaintance between the families running back to 1596.
In 1637 we find Robert Pond, probably one of the brothers who came over with the governor, settled at Dorchester. Daniel Pond, who, according to Savage's Genealogical History was a son of Robert, was settled in Dedham, and, by the records, became a proprietor of land in that town in 1652. He was one of the selectmen of the town in 1660. In addition to his real estate purchases in Dedham, he immediately became an owner of real estate in Wrentham upon the division of that town from Dedham in 1661. He was present at the meeting of the proprietors of the new town January 15th, 1671, and took part in the proceedings. He was a lieutenant of the militia, and took the freeman's oath in 1690. He died February 4th, 1697-8, at Dedham. Daniel B. Pond, the subject of this sketch, traces his ancestry back in a direct line to Daniel Pond, the 'Dedham Settler'.
Without going into details it may be truthfully said that the family name comprises in its list men who have been prominent in various walks of life. It can also be affirmed that the race has been an industrious, upright and honorable one, and that the name has rarely been dishonored by any of those who had the right to bear it. A special chararcteristic of the race has been their love of freedom and patriotic impulses. 'In the struggle for national independence, they rose almost to a man in defence of thier rights, and Revolutionary records bear ample evidence of their alacrity and zeal. Among the first to spring to arms at the receipt of the Lexington alarm, on the morning of the memorable 19th of April, 1775, there were those of the name who did not sheath the sword, until, long years afterward, peace had been declared through the length and breadth of the land, and the country for which they sacrificed so much, no longer needed their services.'
Some of the immediate family of Daniel Pond went from Dedham to Wrentham, among them his son Robert Pond, who 'became the possessor of a very considerable estate in that locality.' In deeds he is styled 'Captain'. His son Ichabod in 1722 received from his father by conveyance, 'his new house and lands, together with all the cattle, farming implements and personal property'. He died at Franklin, May 2d, 1785. It was here that one of his sons, Eli Pond, the great-grandfather of Daniel B., finally settled, after having lived in Medway, Holliston and Bellingham, in each of which towns he seems to have become the owner of real estate. He was very active in the militia. He was a drummer in a company of minute men under Captain John Boyd, which marched from Wrentham, April 19th, 1775; was sergeant in Captain Josiah Fuller's company, Colonel Wheelock, which marched December 8th, 1776, from Medway to Warwick, R.I.; was lieutenant in Captain Amos Ellis's company, Colonel Benjamin Hawes, on service in Rhode Island from September 25th to October 31st, 1777; was lieutenant in a company commanded by Lieutenant Hezekiah Ware, on service in Rhode Island from June 20th to July 14th, 1778.
He married Huldah Hill, of Medway, by whom he had quite a large family. He died May 20th, 1802, and administration on his estate was granted to his son Eli. His sons were rather remarkable for their enterprise and business ability. One of them became largely interested in the lumber trade in Maine, another was sheriff of Hancock county in that state, and a third was of the firm of Peters & Pond, respected and thriving merchants of Boston. During the war of 1812 he lost a vessell and cargo by French spoliation.
Eli Pond, grandfather of Daniel B., in addition to the name of his father,
became possessor of his estate in Franklin, where he passed his days
following the occupation of a farmer. The old homestead and other
portions of his estate are still in the possession of his grandchildren.
He was a man of sterling good sense and probity, well known and influential
in his neighborhood. He married for his first wife Hannah, daughter
of Daniel and Mary Daniels of Holliston, by whom he had two children -
Miranda and Eli Pond. Miranda married Cushman Thayer, of Mendon,
and was the mother of the Hon. Eli Thayer, of Worcester, at one time member
of congress for that district, the founder of Oread Institute, and the
author and promoter of
organized immigration into Kansas, in the early history of that state, and by which it was doubtless made a free state. For a second wife he married Mrs. Ruth Wiswall Bullard, widow of Doctor Daniel Bullard, of Holliston. She had a daughter, Maria Bullard, who subsequently became the wife of the son Eli, father of Daniel B. Pond. Maria Bullard's uncle, on her mother's side, was a graduate of Brown University, and her father, Doctor Bullard, was prepared for Brown, but was persuaded to remain at home with his father, by whom he was presented with the sum of $1,000 as a just remuneration (sic) for his disappointment.
<facing page: engraved portrait of Daniel B. Pond>
Eli Pond and Maria, his wife, came to Woonsocket, then a small village, in 1827, soon after their marriage. Mr. Pond had previously pushed out from the parental roof, and served an apprenticeship to the trade of a painter. He immediately took up his calling, and was soon a contractor and employer of men. He early purchased land on Main street, where he built a residence and stores, and afterward built what is known as Pond's block, which he continues to own, he being one of the very few 'old residents' now living in the city. (His age is 86.) He successfully conducted, for many years, a wholesale and retail trade in paints, oils and manufacturers' supplies. He was also at one time engaged in the manufacture of 'muslin de laines', being an original manufacturer of that class of goods in Rhode Island; and was subsequently engaged in cotton manufacturing. In his early days he was an active supporter of all the village interests, and especially interested in the fire department. The records show him to have been 'first warden' for eleven years. Both he and his wife were active members of the Episcopal church, and did much to promote its interests. In 1840 he purchased the Jonathan Russell farm in Mendon, Mass., where he moved his family, who continued to reside there until after his wife's death, which occurred May 7th, 1864. The children of this union were: Eli (deceased), Daniel B., Oliver (deceased), Hannah D. and Adex. V. G. Pond.
pp. 47 - 50.
Daniel B. Pond was born in the town of Smithfield October 21st, 1830. He attended the common schools until the age of ten, when his parents moved to Mendon, Massachusetts. Here he continued at school until fifteen, subsequently becoming a pupil of Prof. James Bushee's school at the 'Old Bank Village', and later of the Manual Labor School at Worcester, Massachusetts. Afterward he entered Phillips Academy at Andover, Mass., to fit for college, in which institution he continued for two years, and then finished his preparatory course at a private insitution in Concord, Mass., remaining there one year, during which time he made the acquaintance of Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau. He next entered Brown University for a classical course, Francis Wayland being then president. He graduated in 1857 with the degree of A.B., the celebrated Barnes Sears being president. He next entered the law school at Albany, N.Y., from which he graduated with the degree of LL. B., and was shortly afterward admitted to the bar of the supreme court of New York. About this time he was engaged as attorney for the township corporation of Ceredo, Va., where he remained for a brief period, and then came east and entered into law partnership with P. P. Todd, Esq., in Blackstone. In 1859 he was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of Massachusetts. About this time a law and collection office for the United States was opened by the law firm of which he was a partner on State street, Boston, having full charge for one year. He then removed to New York, where headquarters were established in Wall street with seven clerks employed, and where claims against Southerners aggregating $1,000,000 were entered for collection. This was in 1860. The following year the war began and destroyed the business. He in 1862 came to Woonsocket and began the manufacture of cotton warps in what was known as Harris's No. 1 mill, afterward building what is known as Pond's mill on Bernon streeet, where he was engaged in manufacturing for several years. He was the first cotton and woolen manufacturer in the state to shorten the hours of labor. Mr. Pond was from the beginning successful, making $100,000 in a few years, but the failures of debtors caused a suspension of business, and he then divided his last dollar with creditors. This was in 1873, and he then resumed the practice of his profession, at the same time taking an active part in politics on the side of the laboring class against corporations.
His political history embraces an election on several occasions to the council, an election for the years 1864 and 1866 to the lower house of the general assembly, for the years 1867, 1868 and 1869 to the senate, which office he resigned January 6th, 1870. While in the house he formulated the enactments for the division of Woonsocket from the town of Cumberland, and was the first senator elected from the new town. He was also town solicitor for 1879-80 when there were claims against the town for damages amounting to $60,000, not one cent of which was ever recovered. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Consolidated district, and chairman of the board of trustees of the fire corporation, as well as the one of the original engineers of the fire corporation, which he was instrumental in establishing. He was appointed chairman of the committee to draw up a new charter for the fire corporation and obtained the necessary legislation by which is was effected in 1869. He served on several committees, was chairman of the board when the transfer of the fire corporation property was made to the town in 1884, and served on the committee for the erection of the town asylum.
Mr. Pond represented his party and delivered an address on the occasion of the Garfield memorial services in Woonsocket September 26th, 1881. He was also on the committee to locate the soldiers' monument, commissioner in the laying out of various highways, and chairman of the committee appointed to superintend the construction of the Summer Street school building. Mr. Pond was the candidate of his party for the office of general treasurer of the state in 1880. He was re-elected first councilman and president of the board in June, 1887, but resigned the office to accept that of high sheriff of Providence county, to which he was elected by the general assembly in grand committee at the May session in Newport. He was a member of of the board of assessors of taxes for 1886, 1887 and 1888. Mr. Pond drew up the original charter for the city of Woonsocket and secured its introduction to the general assembly at the January session of 1888, from which it was continued to the May session and passed with slight changes. He was the candidate for state senator in April, 1889, and elected the first senator from the new city of Woonsocket by 226 majority. In the fall of 1889 he was elected mayor of Woonsocket by 442 majority. In politics the subject of this biography was a republican from the organizaiton of the party until 1872, since which time he has acted with the democrats. He has labored hard to keep the party one of respectability and purity. He has been chairman of the democratic state central committee, chairman of its executive committee, and was chairman of the democratic town committee until he declined further service.
Daniel B. Pond married Isadore Verry, only child of James Verry, Esq., and Nancy (Nolen) Verry. Mr. Verry was an expert and successful woolen manufacturer, for many years associated with Mr. Edward Harris. He severed his connection with Mr. Harris in 1863, and became largely interested, as a stockholder, in the Merchants' Woolen Company at Dedham, Mass., where he was under a contract for a term of years, at a salary of $10,000 per year, to take charge of the works. After a two years' residence at Dedham, he obtained a release from his contract, as manager, that he might devote more of his time to his home and to his private interests. The loss of two grandchildren about this time, to whom he was devotedly attached, was a great shock to him, and had an apparent effect upon his health. He died in 1867, after a brief illness, conparatively a young man. His widow survived him for some years. The children of Daniel B. and Isadore V. Pond were Verry Nolen and Clarence Eli, unusually bright and interesting boys, both of whom died young, the shadow of whose loss has never been entirely removed; also three daughters -- Isadore Maud, Nannie May and Grace Verena Pond. Of these daughters one is attending an art school, one is at Wellesley College, and the other attends the high school in this city.
Benjamin T. Eames, son of James and Sarah (Mumford) Eames, was born in Dedham, Mass., June 4th, 1818. He removed with his parents to Providence in 1820, they residing here during the remainder of their lives. In early life Mr. Eames had the advantages of the schools in Providence and in some of the leading academies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. At the age of sixteen he was placed in the counting room of a prominent auctioneer, and then as book-keeper was employed in a wholesale dry goods house. Subsequently he was in the employ of the manufacturers' agents of the Blackstone Manufacturing Company and other mills, and the American Paint Works and other manufacturing establishments of Fall River. In the fall of 1838 he began a preparatory course under Professor S. S. Greene, and in the following fall entered Yale College. He graduated in 1843, and immediately associated himself as a law student, with the late Chief Justice Ames, and engaged also as teacher in the academy at North Attleborough. In the spring of 1844 he went to Cincinnati, and entered the law office of Judge Bellamy Storer, where he remained until the following winter, when he was admitted to practice in the courts of Kentucky. Upon his return to Rhode Island, he was in 1845 admitted to practice in the courts of this state, and since then, except when in public service, has been engaged in his profession. From 1845 to 1850 he served as reading and recording clerk of the house of representatives in Rhode Island, and during a part of that time was the reporter of the proceedings in the general assembly for the Providence Journal. He was elected state senator from Providence in 1854, '55, '56, '59 and '63. He was a representative in assembly in 1859, 1868 and 1869, during the last year serving as speaker of the house. He was one of the commissioners on the revision of the public laws of the state in 1857, and also a delegate to the Chicago convention in 1860, which nominated Abraham Lincoln for the presidency. He was elected, in 1870, a representative to the Forty-second congress from the First district of Rhode Island, and was reelected to the Forty-third, Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth congresses. In these successive terms he served on important committees. Mr. Eames became identified with the republican party at its first organization, and has ever since been a firm supporter of its principles and policy. In the fall of 1878 he declined to be a candidate for reelection to congress, and upon his return to Providence he resumed the practice of his profession. Mr. Eames was married in Warwick, R.I., May 9th, 1849, to Laura S. Chapin, daughter of Josiah and Asenath (Capron) Chapin. His wife died October 1st, 1872. Two children are living - a son Waldo, and a daughter, Laura.
Honorable Amasa Smith Westcott, who for years has been judge of the municipal court of Providence, is a native of North Scituate, R.I., and was born September 21st, 1818. His first American ancestor, Stukley Westcott, who with Roger Williams was expelled from the church of Salem, became one of the distinguished founders of the Rhode Island colony. Judge Westcott's grandfather served in the revolutionary war, and received an honorable discharge. His father, John, united in marriage with Cecilia Owen, and thus was brought into the world the subject of this sketch, a man of marked ability; one who, though of modest disposition, will ever be before the public. His early years were spent in Scituate, where he pursued the ordinary studies of the public schools. Having, however, a desire to obtain the benefits of a college education, he attended the academies at Brooklyn and Plainfield, Conn.
His preparatory studies were completed under the direction of the late Judge Bosworth, of Warren, R.I., and in 1838 he entered Brown University, from which he graduated in 1842. He studied law with Judge Bosworth, was admitted to the bar in 1844, and for one year thereafter remained in the office of his preceptor.
In 1845 he removed to Providence, where he engaged in the practice of his profession until 1852. In that year he was elected clerk of the court of common pleas of Providence county, and held the position uninteruptedly until 1867. He was then elected judge of the municipal court, being ex-officio judge of probate, and held that office until his retirement from public life in 1884. In the discharge of his offical duties, Judge Westcott has secured a well earned reputation for judicial ability, geniality of disposition and urbanity.
In 1854 he was elected a member of the common council of Providence from the First ward, and was chairman of the committee in 1875 which erected the county court house. In politics he is a republican, and prior to the organization of that party was a whig.
Judge Westcott married, April 7th, 1845, Susan C., daughter of Daniel Bosworth, of Warren, and sister of the late Judge Bosworth. They have had three childen, all of whom died in infancy.
<facing page: portrait of Amasa S. Westcott>
pp. 50 - 55.
Apollas Cushman, of Pawtucket, for many years a leading member of the bar of Bristol county, Mass., with a large practice in the courts of Rhode Island, was the son of Zebedee and Sarah (Paddelford) Cushman, and was the seventh in lineal descent from Robert Cushman, the pilgrim. Born in Middleboro, Mass., August 9th, 1782, graduating from Brown Univerity in 1802, studying law with Judge Paddelford, of Taunton, he was admitted to the bar in 1806. He began practice in Attleborough, but about 1815 he removed to Seekonk, now Pawtucket. Meanwhile he had married Anna Maria, daughter of General William Barton, of Revolutionary fame as the capturer of Prescott among other illustrious services to his country. Learned in the law, brilliant, and at the same time solid in intellect, gifted with unusual eloquence, he at once took high rank as a lawyer and counsellor. A man of great power before a jury, he devoted himself chiefly to the civil side of his profession. At Pawtucket he had neither rival nor peer, and after the death of Moses Sandford and Collins Darling, Mr. Cushman had an exclusive field. His reputation extended far, and clients came from neighboring counties to consult with him. After the troubles of 1829, when the Slaters, Wilkinsons, Greens, Tylers and others were his clients, his standing as a lawyer was assured. He ranked among the foremost men at the bar, and it is hardly too much to say that in later years he stood at the head of his profession. Mr. Cushman defeated all attempts to draw him into political life, but he had no less a large influence upon the affairs of the town. When the town of Pawtucket was formed out of Seekonk, it was he who visited the 'Great and General Court', as the attorney for the town, and it was his eloquence that carried the day. When the town meeting had before it some difficult point, he was sent for to advocate it. When at Draper's store, a sort of local exchange, the Ingrahams, Starkweathers, Tylers and others discussed public affairs, no voice was so potent as Mr. Cushman's, and referring to those times, he seemed to be the 'power behind the throne.' When, in the Dorr war, a man was shot down at Pawtucket bridge, with one impulse the mob went to Mr. Cushman's house, to know what should be done, and when he told them to go home and thank God they were not themselves killed, as they might lawfully have been, they looked upon the matter as settled. After a long life of distinguished service to his fellow men, he died September 17th, 1864. Rhode Island mourned in him one of her worthiest sons. Of his seven children two survive -- Mr. Henry B. Cushman, who occupies the homestead at Pawtucket, and the Reverend George F. Cushman, D.D., author and journalist, of New York.
Walter Snow Burges, ex-associate justice of the supreme court of Rhode Island, was born September 10th, 1808, in Rochester, Plymouth county, Mass., where his father, Abraham Burges, and grandfather, John Burges, had lived for many years, following agricultural pursuits. His mother, nee Rhoda Caswell, was the daughter of Elijah Caswell, and a native of the same county. Judge Burges attended the public schools of Rochester, until the age of 17 years, when he entered the old academy, at Sandwich, then under the charge of Professor Luther Lincoln. Here he prepared himself for college, and entered Brown University, in 1827, graduating in 1831. He immediately accepted charge of Thaxter Academy, at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, and taught there for three consecutive years. In the meantime he engaged more or less in legal studies, which he completed later, under the direction of Judge Thomas Burgess of Providence. In 1835 he was admitted to the ranks of the legal profession, by the supreme court, and discharged the duties pertaining to its practice until his elevation to the judicial bench in 1868, where he continued until June, 1881, when his health compelled him to resign the position he had so long and successfully filled.
'The political affiliations of Judge Burges continued from early manhood to the year 1840 in harmony, with the federal, national republican and whig designations of party politics. In that and the following year, complaints had become louder, more general and persistent, against the government under the charter of Charles II., in 1663, and rapidly assumed organized forms of proceeding. What was wanted was a written constitution, notably providing for an extension of the elective franchise, not limited, as before, to freeholders and their oldest sons, and an equalization of the legislature among the various towns, and setting aside the arbitrary apportionment of the charter, now come to be enormously disproportioned and unjust. The old legislature, of course, would extend no countenance, assent, or authority to any movements of this kind. The constitutional or suffrage party, as then called, claimed the right to act without their consent, preserving all the forms of proceeding, as nearly as possible, to which they had been accustomed. They called a state convention. They framed and submitted to the people a written constitution. It was in due time voted on, and soon after, by proclamation, declared to have been adopted by a large majority of the people qualified to vote under it. At an election soon after held the usual state officers and a legislature were duly voted into place, according to the provisions of the new constitution. Then followed an attempt to establish and enforce the constitution by a military demonstration. The attempt wholly failed, and was effectually suppressed by the strong resistance it encountered from the state, assisted by the general government. Another constitution, however, was adopted at about this time, promoted by the old legislature itself, and far more liberal in regard to the elective franchise and the equalization of representation. This constitution now remains, with its subsequent amendment, as the highest law of the state. With these proceedings and reforms sought to be realized from them, the judge, though always expressing a warm sympathizing interest, yet never took much active and decisive part.'
<facing page: portrait of W. S. Burges>
'In 1845 he was appointed United States district attorney, under the adminstration of President Polk, and was removed by his successor four years later. He served the state occasionally in one or the other branch of the legislature, and was elected attorney-general in 1851, and reelected in 1852, 1853, and 1854, and again in 1860, 1861, 1862 and 1863.'
June 1st, 1836, Judge Burges married Eleanor, daughter of Honorable James Burrill, of Providence. Mrs. Burges died in Providence May 1st, 1865. They had three children: Cornelia A., now Mrs. Arnold Green; Sarah Elizabeth, now Mrs. Charles Morris Smith, and Theodora F., who is at present living with her father.
Philip Capron Scott was born in Manville, in the town of Smithfield, November 22d, 1817. The first six months of his life were spent there, he then removing with his parents to the city of Providence. His father was Elisha, son of Samuel Scott, of Billingham, Norfolk country, Mass. His mother was Nancy, daughter of Philip Capron, of the town of Cumberland, of this county. The latter was from early manhood to the end of his life a magistrate of his town, and was well read in the law, of sound mind and excellent judgment. About two years after the birth of Philip, his father purchased a farm in Cumberland and moved his family thither. Spending the early years of his boyhood as a farmer boy, he had few opportunities for recreation or amusement, and but limited means of acquriring an early education. By dint of strategem and the assistance of a friend, young Philip suceeded in getting command of his own affairs at the age of 16, and by diligence and earnest perseverance he secured advancement in studies, meanwhile teaching in the common schools, so that when 23 years of age he was prepared to enter Brown University a year in advance. He pursued the course in part, but on account of ill health abandoned the idea of graduating. He then taught school two years, and then determined upon a mercantile life. The death of his father occurring about that time he invested his patrimony in the mercantile business, but after pursuing it about two years he gave it pp at a loss of nearly all that he had risked in it. In the spring of 1845, hving then a wife and child to provide for and little means to work with, he entered the office of Abraham Payne, as a student of law. As Mr. Payne and Chief Justice Ames soon after formed a partnership, Mr. Scott became the student of both, and at the spring term of the supreme court in 1848, was admitted to the bar. He continued to practice for 30 years, when the increasing severity of neuralgia, which had fastened itself upon him, compelled him to give up forensic practice, and confine himself to simple office business, and making no effort to enlarge his practice in that direction, but meeting the work that follows him. He has been twice married: the first time to Catherine H. Holbrook, of Grafton, Mass., April 4th, 1841, she dying in 1864; again he was married to Mrs. Mary E. Sherman, of Woonsocket, February 19th, 1870. By the first wife he had three children: Catherine, Philip and Martha, of whom the first named survives, the other two dying in infancy. At the bar Mr. Scott had the reputation of a first class jury advocate, and a safe and reliable counsellor. Politically he is a democrat, in religion a Methodist, on the 'living issue' favorably inclined to prohibition.
William H. Greene was born in Hopkinton, R.I., September 5th, 1826. His father, Benjamin Greene, born in the same town, March 15th, 1786, died in May, 1880, was a descendant of John Greene, of Kingstown, who about 1639 came to Narragansett and lived there with Richard Smith, the first settler of that locality. The mother of William H. Greene was Sarah Ann, daughter of Jeremiah Baker, of Scituate, R.I. Mr. Greene was never married. Up to the age of 14 years he worked on the farm and attended the district school at Hopkinton City (so called). He then attended the Pawcatuck Academy at Westerly, for several years, teaching some winters meanwhile, in the district schools of Hopkinton. He then taught schools in Portsmouth three years, after which he atttended the academy at Alfred Centre, N.Y., for about a year and half. He then went to Shiloh, N.J. where he taught in Shiloh Academy for about 18 months. In November, 1850, he began traveling on an agency through most of the Southern states, in which he continued about five years, with the exception of the summer and fall of 1853, when he was attending the Law School at Ballston Spa, N.Y. In October, 1855, he commenced reading law in the office of Benjamin F. Thurston, in Providence. From that time until his admission to the bar, in July, 1858, he acted as librarian of the Franklin Lyceum. He was also a member of it. On his admission to the bar he opened a law office in the Jones's Building, 26 Westminster street, where he remained until July, 1873. At the latter date he entered into a partnership with Willard Sayles, which continued six years. He was admitted to the U.S. circuit court bar about 1862, and to the U.S. supreme court bar in 1887. He was one of the justices of the court of magistrates of Providence, for 1865-6, and one of the police justices of the city for 1867-8. He continues to practice law at the corner of South Main and College streets.
Claudius B. Farnsworth, now of the firm of C. B. & C. J. Farnsworth, who occupy an office in Cole's Block, Pawtucket, was born January 8th, 1815, of Massachusetts parentage, his ancestry having lived at Groton since 1661. He graduated at Harvard University in 1841, and after studying law in Harvard Law School, and with J. G. Coffin, of New Bedford, was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts, in March, 1844. He soon after settled in Pawtucket, and is now practicing law there. From 1859 to 1881 he was engaged in calico printing.
James G. Markland was born at Manchester, England, January 23rd, 1829. He was educated in the city of his birth, and about 1844 entered the office of an attorney and solicitor in Manchester, and after spending about two years there, was duly articled for the term of five years, with the view of admission to practice as an attorney and counsellor in the English courts. After serving the specified term he acted for about three years as managing clerk in the same office. He came to this country in the summer of 1854, and settled at Philadelphia, where he remained about two years, and removed to Providence in the spring of 1857. Here he has resided ever since. He was admitted to practice, in the supreme court of Rhode Island, September 30th, 1858; in the circuit court of the United States, January 25th, 1869. He married at Manchester, Engl., about 1849, Hannah Bullen, who died in August, 1863. He afterward married, at Providence, June 30th, 1864, Elizabeth Clayton Read (Bradley), widow. He has never had any children.
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